Although Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. and Mexican star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will fight in a major Las Vegas boxing card on May 4, it will not be against each other.
Sources close to Golden Boy Promotions confirmed weekend tweets and reports to The Sports Xchange that Alvarez, the 154-pound champion (41-0-1), will take on WBA champion Austin "No Doubt" Trout (26-0, 14 KOs). The MGM Grand show seems situated as a prelude to a September meeting between Mayweather and Alvarez.
However, that will require Trout to not ruin Alvarez' plans, which he has done already. In fact, this matchup promises to be the most difficult Alvarez has had.
The popularity of the 22-year old Alvarez is evident in the fact that his match against Trout is considered by some as a co-main event rather than part of the undercard in a show that includes Mayweather, whose opponent is expected to be Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero.
Trout, from Las Cruces, N.M., already derailed plans by Alvarez with a Dec. 1 unanimous decision over well-regarded Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in Madison Square Garden. That, and other setbacks, such as a tragic end to the career of Paul Williams, have prevented Alvarez from the opportunity to legitimize his standing against a big name fighter still in his prime.
After destroying a fading Shane Moseley last May and brutalizing a game but overmatched and undersized Josesito Lopez in September, Alvarez hoped to take on Cotto on his way to a Mayweather match. Even after Trout beat Cotto, it was reported that Golden Boy Promotions was still seeking a Cotto date for Alvarez.
So, from the perspective of the Trout camp, this May fight is overdue because there was a feeling Alvarez was avoiding the disciplined left-hander whose abilities may exceed his image.
Even in his lopsided TKO victory over Lopez, the powerful Alvarez showed flaws that allowed him to be hit too often, although his undersized opponent was unable to do any real damage.
Trout may offer a much more difficult challenge for Alvarez than the better-known Cotto, who now has two consecutive losses, including a unanimous decision against Mayweather last May.
Trout is only 27, very athletic and fights with both skill and patience. But because he doesn't have the fan recognition of a Cotto, this may be a lose-lose situation for Alvarez. If he wins it may not be as a appreciated as it should, but if he loses it could seriously damage what many believe has been a well-choreographed career.
"This will be another huge opportunity for Austin," Trout's trainer Louis Burke told BoxingInsider.com. "We waited a long time for the Cotto fight, and now we are on the doorstep of the next big opportunity. Hopefully, something will get finalized in the next couple of days."
The matchup has meaning in the Alvarez family. Trout won his current title by defeating Canelo's brother, Rigoberto, in early 2011.